As of a few hours ago, Libby and I said goodbye to the better half of our team (Teresa, Kristina, we miss you already!!) and started the extensive unpack - pack - repack rhythm that will get us ready to return to the mountain in short order.
Armed with two lightweight daypacks and roughly 130lbs in mule duffels, our plan is to head back to Penitentes on the morning bus in order to spend the night just outside the park and then start the 18 mile (and 4500ft ascent!) hike into basecamp on Tuesday morning. Along the way we'll meet up with photographer extraordinaire John Evans, who is joining us on this next go around to document the beauty of the mountain as well as some of Libby and my cardiocrawl endeavors.
Not having summitted this previous time, we are keen on pushing high quite quickly and seeing what our bodies can do after two weeks of acclimatization at up to 18,300ft. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and the next two and a half weeks promise to be full of excitement, effort and uncertainty. I personally am equally stoked and anxious to see what I can accomplish - the wild dream right now is to make it from Nido to the summit in 5-6 hours, which is roughly half the time that most "regular" climbers take for the same three mile distance (yes, at that altitude it really *does * take 10-12 hours to cover three miles, and it's hard enough for lots of well-trained people to turn around). It'll be an adventure, and while I am in no way sure of the outcome I am excited to try and give it my best.
As on the last climb, I'll post intermittent updates on the blog while we're at basecamp; I'll also try for the occasional photo upload though what comes through is highly dependent on bandwidth in Plaza de Mulas. A more reliable way to follow along and/or stay in touch is the live GPS which will be fully operational for two-way messaging just as it was for the team climb; in addition, Paul will continue to post regular (where possible, daily) updates on my Instagram so you can hear what we're up to.
I can't wait to get going and see how the mountain will receive us this time around. Vamos!!